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If you love coffee (which I assume so, as you’ve landed on this article), you would know how it feels like to crave a good, rich cup of coffee. So you go to the kitchen and make yourself a cup, but blah, why does it taste like plastic. How you wish you could make barista-level coffee, all in your own kitchen.
This is why getting a quality coffee maker is important. A good model comes with robust coffee-brewing capabilities, with many features that complement to top it off. Speaking of well-made, consumer-level coffee makers, the brand Ninja comes into mind.
In this article, we discuss if Ninja coffee makers are actually any good, how to shop for them, and reviews of our picks of the best Ninja coffee makers.
For true affordability though, there is no match for the CE251.
Table of Contents
Are Ninja Coffee Makers Good?
Before talking about their coffee makers, Ninja as a brand, is reputable. Known as a reliable kitchen appliances manufacturer, they make everything from blenders to grills, ovens to coffee makers. While being diverse, the brand also manages to maintain a high quality in their products.
While Ninja isn’t necessarily the first brand that would come to mind when talking about coffee, their philosophy of creating excellent products at affordable prices holds true here. They might not offer the fanciest coffee machines, or be the brand that coffee lovers would rave about, but they do make highly accessible coffee makers to the general consumers.
While all this may sound like they’re giving up the quality of coffee brewing to make their machines more affordable, it isn’t the case at all. They offer a few types of models in their coffee maker lineup, and the higher-end ones make some seriously rich, flavorful coffee. Comparable to brands like Keurig, the coffee makers from Ninja cut no corners.
Bottom line, unless you’re a coffee enthusiast who is willing to spend in the upper range of hundreds on a coffee maker, Ninja is a great brand for you to get your daily coffee maker from.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in Coffee Makers
Although we’re talking specifically about Ninja coffee makers, these tips are not restricted to just this brand in any way. It’s a good thing to take note of these no matter what manufacturer you’re shopping from!
This is a very important, practical point to think about. Because a coffee maker is a shared appliance in the kitchen, you’re often buying for more than just yourself.
If your household frequently brews coffee at different times, for different numbers of people, having one that is able to do multiple brew sizes makes life easier. If you also make coffee for just a single person sometimes, there are models out there that are able to brew into a single cup or a carafe, known as dual coffee makers.
A coffee lover has specific tastes about the type of brew that comes out of a coffee machine, which is why it’s important to check the brewing styles of a coffee maker before jumping the gun.
Most coffee makers are capable of doing at least classic and rich brews. Some are able to do it over ice. Sophisticated ones though, are able to do cold brews and specialty coffeehouse drinks.
If you’re confused between the differences of over ice and cold brew, brewing over ice basically means to brew normally, then cool the drink down using ice – which is just what iced coffee is. Cold brew on the other hand is never heated up in any part of the process. This makes it slower, but also richer due to not being watered down by ice.
Inclusion of frother
Speaking of brewing styles, if you’re huge on specialty coffee, e.g. cappuccino, macchiato, latte etc, having a frother makes a world of difference. Being able to froth milk and add it to your drinks right from the coffee maker is just so convenient.
Some models are also capable of frothing both cold and hot milk!
Do note though, if you’re regularly frothing non-dairy milk like almond or oat milk, it might be a better idea to get a dedicated non-dairy-compatible frother for that purpose.
Not a huge factor, but I personally prefer thermal carafe over glass. Not only do they not have to rely on heating plates to keep the coffee warm, they’re also highly resistant to breaking.
Because they don’t use heating plates to keep your drink warm, this also reduces burnt taste in the coffee.
I’m putting this here just to draw to your attention that none of Ninja’s coffee makers have this functionality!
Apparently, Ninja is huge on coffee brewed from ground beans, and takes pride in staying away from K-Cup pods. If you share the same mentality, that’s great. But if you need to use K-Cups with your coffee maker, there’s no point in considering the brand anymore.
Our Picks of the Best Ninja Coffee Makers
Ninja makes quite a few models in their lineup of coffee makers. Here are our top picks out of the many.
What’s better than a coffee maker? A coffee and tea maker, in one machine!
If you’re not just a coffee lover, but a tea lover as well, this machine is a match made in heaven. It has separate baskets for tea and coffee so the flavors don’t get mixed up. On top of that, the machine recognizes which basket it is that you put in, and automatically adjusts the settings to fit the type of beverage you’re making.
This unit is what is known as a dual coffee maker, where you are able to make different brew sizes – ranging from a cup to a carafe – depending on your current needs. This eliminates the need to wait around for family members to brew a carafe of coffee, or having to keep brewed coffee hot or warm. Whenever you feel like it, brew as much coffee as you want.
Speaking of keeping coffee warm, the purchase also includes a thermal carafe, which is always welcomed. Because of this, Ninja has decided to not include a heating plate with the model. Honestly though, the thermal carafe keeps coffee hot very well and is very well the best Ninja coffee pot, which negates the need to have a heating plate in the first place.
If you’re a fan of rich iced coffee or specialty coffeehouse drinks, this model does those too. It has 5 brew styles, namely classic, rich, cold brew, over ice, or specialty e.g. macchiato, cappuccino etc. It is in our opinion, no doubt the best coffee maker from Ninja.
- Made for dual functionalities – making tea & coffee
- Capable of doing cold brews
- Smart recognition switches between tea & coffee settings based on the basket inserted
- Includes 6 brew sizes – from single-cup servings to a full carafe
- 5 brew styles: classic, rich, cold brew, over ice, specialty
- Includes a thermal carafe
- Has a programmable delay timer
- Does not come with a heating plate, which the thermal carafe honestly doesn’t need
While this looks very different to the previous CP307 model, in terms of functionality, you can almost consider them siblings.
Making specialty coffee is this model’s strength. It has a built-in, fold-away frother that takes it even further. That being said, while specifically designed for specialty coffeehouse drinks – even as far as getting certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) – it is capable of much more than that. In terms of brew styles, it is able to do classic, rich, over ice, or specialty. Just one short of its brother, CP307. With this model, you’re losing out the ability to do cold brews.
Other than that, the two are really similar. This model is also capable of 6 brew sizes, as with the CP307. Being a dual coffee maker, this unit is also able to make different brew sizes ranging from a single cup to a carafe.
Because this is priced lower though, it does have a few shortcomings in comparison. For starters, the carafe included with this is a glass one, not a thermal one. Even so, Ninja chose to exclude a heating plate in this model as well. As glass carafes aren’t that good at keeping coffee warm, you should optimally consume it as quickly as possible, or find another way to keep its temperature!
Don’t let these confuse you though, this is the best rated Ninja coffee maker online!
- Designed for rich specialty coffee brews, e.g. latte, macchiato, etc.
- Includes 6 brew sizes – from single cups to full carafes
- Capable of 4 brew styles: classic, rich, over ice, specialty
- Fold-away frother included
- Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified
- Takes up quite a lot of counter space
- No heating plate
Looking for a low barrier entry into the world of coffee makers, without breaking your bank? This model was built with being economical in mind, without sacrificing usability.
Functionality-wise, you’d be surprised at how much a brewer this price range is able to pack. Being somewhat of a dual coffee maker, it is capable of brewing multiple sizes: from small batches of 1-4 cups, to a full carafe. While brew strength options are rather limited, it does come with the ability to adjust, fortunately.
While it comes with a glass carafe, this model does have a warming plate to keep your coffee hot. It is adjustable for up to 4 hours, and has an auto shut-off feature that activates after 2 hours. The 60oz removable water reservoir is easy to refill.
Possibly the feature that takes the cake here is a 24-hour programmable delay timer. This allows you to set a time up to a day in the future, which the brewer would automatically start. Even though it’s not a groundbreaking feature, the fact that Ninja included this in their affordable model, when it’s not available in even some of their expensive ones, is a curious decision.
That being said, we did notice that the grounds did not get filtered as cleanly as we would have liked. Small amounts managed to get into the coffee brew. As a workaround you could use filters or strainers, but it does make the operation that much more inconvenient.
- Brew strength settings, classic to rich
- 24-hour programmable delay timer
- Adjustable warming plate keeps coffee warm for up to 4 hours
- 60oz removable water reservoir
- Circulates coffee while brewing to ensure flavorfulness
- Multiple brew sizes: 1-4 cups, or a full carafe
- Coffee grounds don’t get filtered nicely
- Not as well-built as the higher-end models, especially the carafe
If you care about kitchen aesthetics, this is the best-looking model from Ninja we’ve come across. Boasting a premium greyish color, this looks just like something out of a proper coffee shop.
Ninja really put everything they have into this model, as it combines all the great features of their other ones. It is able to brew coffee and tea, and the purchase also comes with separate baskets for both. The machine also intelligently recognizes the baskets and chooses the right settings for each, just like our top-pick, the Ninja CP307.
There’s actually more. If you’re a tea lover, this has something nothing else from the NInja lineup has: intelligent tea-brewing procedures. Simply select your type of tea, and the machine automatically fits a temperature, as well as the number of steeps needed.
For specialty coffee, it even has a fold-away frother. While the CM401 model also has it, this one is actually able to turn both hot or cold milk into froth! You’re able to brew it directly into a cup.
Other than that, it’s really similar to the CP307. 6 brew sizes, 5 brew styles, you’ve heard it before.
But dang, is it expensive.
- Able to brew coffee & tea
- Separate baskets for coffee and tea, which the machine intelligently recognizes and switches settings automatically
- Includes 6 brew sizes
- 5 brew styles: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, specialty
- Intelligent tea brewing procedures
- Fold-away hot and cold frother
- Pricey option
- Reviewers mention leaky carafe if you’re not careful
If you thought the previous one was expensive, wait until you see the price tag on this one.
Honestly, for most people it is probably not a good investment. The fact that it is single-serve only makes it really hard to justify spending so much on it. This model specifically suffers from practicality, especially if you live in a family.
For a true coffee lover though, this model just offers functionalities that no other models offer.
The headline-grabbing feature of the Ninja CF111 is actually its range of brew styles. While it has the standard ones that come with other Ninja coffee makers, i.e. classic, rich, over ice and specialty, it actually has one more. Cafe Forte is Ninja’s signature brew – rich, complex flavors, that bring out the best of your coffee.
To make it as capable as possible at making specialty and Cafe Forte brews, it also comes with a built-in frother that handles hot and cold milk. The frother integrates seamlessly into the brewing process, providing a complete experience.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But is it worth it? Unless you really enjoy coffee that much and don’t need to brew carafes of coffee, we would recommend looking somewhere else. However if you’re that person that holds onto the motto of ‘quality over quantity’, it might be worth your hard-earned cash.
- Built-in hot and cold frother that integrates seamlessly into the brewing process
- 4 custom brew sizes – from cups to travel mugs
- Multiple brew styles: classic, rich, over ice, cafe forte, specialty
- Advanced thermal flavor extraction technology
- Only brews single-serves
- Stated brewing volume is a little off
- Difficult to clean, with the cleaning light coming up more often than it should
How to Pick for Your Use Case?
Given that we only had five picks, it’s really easy to pick the right one for yourself if you know what you want. But if you’re still confused after reading our reviews, don’t worry, we’re here to help.
For most people, we would actually recommend the CP307 Tea & Coffee Maker. It even includes a thermal carafe, which is the only one in this list to do so! But of course, it’s not for everyone, and if you have any of these specific needs, there are models better suited for you. If you…
- need a frother: the CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker, Maker594 Coffee & Tea Maker, and CF111 Single-Serve Coffee Maker all have one.
- make only single-serve specialty coffee: the CF111 Single-Serve Coffee Maker was designed specifically for you!
- brew coffee and tea: the CP307 is able to do this, but the Maker594 is capable of brewing both types of beverage as well.
- make more tea than coffee: the Maker594 has sophisticated tea-making capabilities. But you’re probably on the wrong article anyway. 😉
- would like something affordable: the CE251 12-cup Programmable Brewer is a good choice. Even though it doesn’t brew for a single cup, it is able to brew a small batch of 1-4 cups into a carafe.
If you have none of those needs, the CP307 is probably your best bet!
When, And How To Clean A Ninja Coffee Maker
When you realize your coffee isn’t tasting the way it used to, or when it clogs up often and leaks, it might be time to look into cleaning your coffee maker.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to clean it at least once a month. However with most Ninja models, there is actually an indicator that lights up whenever it is time to do so. Having this feature means you won’t have to manually keep track of when was the last time you’ve cleaned your coffee maker.
When it’s time to do so, it’s not difficult either. Simply fill the reservoir to the max with descaling solution (white vinegar works too!), and hit the ‘clean’ button, with the size set to a full carafe.
Once that’s done, pour the solution away and refill the reservoir with just water, and run a clean cycle again. This is to flush out the solution/vinegar, to avoid contaminating your next batch of coffee. We recommend repeating this process for two times, but it’s up to you to adjust to what you’re comfortable with.
Here’s a list of instructions with illustrations, if you prefer that.
Having a good coffee maker at home is a godsend for coffee lovers. No longer would you have to run to the store to get your fix for quality coffee. Get some good ground coffee and you’re off to making your own in the comfort of your own home.
It’s important to consider your typical use cases when shopping for one though. It all depends on how much coffee you make each time (single servings, or a carafe?) as well as the type of coffee you make – be it regular ones or coffeehouse drinks.
Skim through our guide on picking the one for yourself, and follow through the links to check the latest prices. Time to get one for yourself, make some espresso and enjoy!
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